Banff + Jasper
Crossing the Canadian border strictly for pleasure, we dropped pins to Banff and Jasper via Icefields Parkway. They say it's the journey, not the destination and that certainly applies here. The stretch between these two Canadian National Parks has some of the most beautiful landscapes we've ever seen. A handful of glaciers are left to explore in this area and the water melting out of them is Caribbean turquoise. If you're visiting, please make note below of the differences between Canadian and American National Parks.
New country, new set of park rules. In Canada, there is a daily fee per adult (must display on dashboard) whereas in the US, you pay per vehicle and the pass is valid for one week. In Canada, you must have a reservation to get a campsite unlike the states. However, if campgrounds are full in Canada, they graciously allow overflow camping and you get charged the same amount, which is around $15.00/night.
Visiting Banff first, we went straight to the famous Lake Louise. To give you an idea of how busy it was, we had to park the RV over a mile away. Walking to the right side of the lake, there is an uphill hike delivering better views of the light turquoise water. At the top of the trail, we enjoyed some mountain mate at Lake Agnes Tea House. Other stops in the park were also busy, so we got a good taste of what the park had to offer and moved on. Banff Springs Hotel is a favorite memory from visiting the park, much like walking around inside of a museum.
To get to Jasper, we drove the Icefields Parkway which was the most stunning drive. Heading back to the states through the west of Canada was also incredible! We just so happened to be traveling during the 20 days out of the year when the chinook salmon swim 800 miles from the Pacific Ocean to their birth place to spawn.